tv Book Discussion on Blood in the Water CSPAN October 9, 2016 6:45am-7:55am EDT
the pain of it. you know, my dad was in the black panthers. this is a huge deal. i'm telling you what it means to me. my dad was in the panther party, the story of early pushing after he left the panther party to stay involved. my earliest memory of black men in jail. commitment jail. i mean it to be true. my dad taking me into the person to see folks. he identified it as the headquarters. he wanted me to watch a close. the buddy said to me, at the time it was mostly folks, radicals or something went wrong
i told them that is why you shall. that is why you scream outside the mainstream because you never know when history will come around 45 years later and people verify things that the mainstream at the time and it turns that is exactly right. i'll save that for the bug. even though i'm only halfway through. if you hear who are not familiar, can we just get a very quick summary of what happened and why it's important. >> sure. 1971, abaco like so many prisons in new york were bursting at the seams because they had been a real policing in inner cities across the nation that particularly in new york city.
buffalo, rochester and attica was filled with 2400 men overwhelmingly black and puerto rican but also bateman and the conditions were horrendous. they wear, you know, one roll of toilet paper is to last a month. two quarts of water to do everything in. wash, clean yourself, drink. medical care so bad that prisoners were not only dying, but we're permanently disfigured from lack of care. this is the context that the men in the yard start talking about his civil rights in the presents, human rights and the prison and many of these guys had also come from streets that had been buried at it, particularly parliament 64, rochester and 64 you begin to ask for help initially through the system, writing letters to
their state senators and begging the commissioner of corrections to do something. but nothing was really dead. while the sun was a great deal more repression. anyone caught having the letter asking for help with be thrown in yourself for indefinite periods of time. you couldn't get out. it is in that context that people start talking across political lines, racial lines. there is usually somebody in the yard trying to translate between the group so everybody could understand what everyone else was saying. to make a very long story short, they eventually erupt. actually, the initial moment is probably caused by a management decision wasn't planned on the part of the prisoners that it becomes a very important human rights rebellion. 1300 men gathered together in
one part of the pricing. they elect representatives from each of the cellblocks to speak for them. they ask for observers to come in to oversee negotiations with the state said that they feel they can be heard. one of them is herman padilla was mention, his lovely wife is here and really insisted that the media come in. that there were television cameras because the problem with prison is nobody ever what goes on inside. these guys were very committed to shining the light on the inside of the wall. of course they have been inspired themselves by other uprisings that it just happened. auburn, new york city show system and for four days negotiating intensely with the state for these basic human right. and then, one of the most brutal events i would argue in the
20th century and i think that is part of what you were alluding to is most difficult to read. for four days these guys are negotiating with the state announced the television cameras are rolling meanwhile outside of attica's walls, virtually every battalion of the new york state police were coming to attica and assembling outside his house correction officers from all of the prisons in the surrounding area. for four days they didn't sleep on the chimney much, but were really fed on a diet of rumor of an made atrocities on the inside which incidentally my research indicated was not coincidentally coming from the fbi. one of the rumors was these guys were standing at the hostages and attention it should default to our fault they would shoot them in the head. these guys didn't even have guns which will become very important
to the story. they are amassing and it's becoming clear to the observers that at any moment the state will come in. i now understand they were determined to come in from the very beginning. the idea that negotiations might have meant something, there is certainly very goodhearted people that help so i worked hard to make it happen. at the highest levels they were biding their time and i would argue that it's coming sooner sooner had it not been for observers in the quicktime installed a safe faith. suddenly on the fifth day, they decided they were going to come in with the new york state police and not the second correction officers despite the fact -- >> when you say armed, even literally. like with clubs. >> the guys were passing out weapons indiscriminately. nobody was writing done serial numbers.
i have photographs of them passing gunfight at the back of trucks. later i discovered paperwork indicating some of the troopers did start to write down and they were told to rip it up basically. we don't want to know who has which guns. personal weapons, shotguns, deer hunting, rifles. >> literally giving mission is banned. >> that's right. and now gone that when it's clear they are going to go when, the longtime story was dead once the prisoners we are going to come in. if you don't release hostages we will come in. internal paperwork revealed to me that they actually deliberately did not give an ultimatum. in other words, the language used is no different than it had been any other morning before this attack began. everybody told rockefeller, including people he put on the observers committee who were
republicans, who are very supportive set if you come in like this it's going to be a massacre. we now know that he was told if i come in here like this we are going to kill some of the hostages. he said we are going to do it anyway. so they came in and right before they came in, another big piece of it, they first sent over helicopters that were dumping gas over the yard. i share this story with people because when we think of tear gas, we think our guys come at a gas in the air and maybe if you cover your mouth you can avoid it or something. but is actually a powder clinging to people's skin in their nasal passages. everyone is scratching and falling to the ground, largely immobilizing. the limited footage we have deep into the cloud of smoke and everybody gets mowed down. that is when they came in with guns. >> you know, we talked earlier
and one of the questions qualifies as a lynching immediately had to guess. it's a militarized lynching. why don't we think about it that way? i knew the story before i read it. as i was reading about was reading the book a lot of details to mention for instance paranoia about what was happening to not be true. the insistence on hiding the identities of people, the taking of souvenirs, all of it has the hallmark of a lynching. why do we think about that one? >> before he answered back, let me remind everybody to retake it is just the beginning of the brutality. when everybody is subdued within 15 minutes i would argue they were subdued when the gas came through.
certainly a bonus -- six and seven times as one of the prisoners said all i could see was the lead in the water. if the bafflement the road brutality wins and it's extremely reminiscent of a lynching for a number of reasons. one, it is deeply racialized. even the prisoners with white skin because they assume that the black prisoners. the racial epithets coming with all of them in punctuating the torture that goes on throughout the days, weeks, months. but also like a lynching they stood out in front of the world because the media is here from everywhere at this point and say after their officers, the prisoners have slit the throats of the hostages and not only that they've one of the cars stuffed his in the mouth. we saw it happening. one actually said we have film of it.
of course this goes out on the front page of "the new york times," "l.a. times," all the ap papers in every small-town newspaper in america. but it does on the inside is touches off a fury that we think of the race riots of the 1900s in the 1890s where it is just unstoppable. one prisoner, frank a blacksmith below these guys are stripped, bleeding, no medical care on a table with a football put under his neck if they dropped the football we are going to kill you. of course he believes that. he that. he's just seen so many killed and another prisoner that i talk about in the book shot so many times. but one of his friends is trying to care he had to some measure of safety, issue had first tried to help.
so why don't i think about it that way? it goes to the core of our conscious of the nation that we don't think about what happens to people when we put them behind bars. if we were to retake a prison in this fashion they somehow those folks are less than human and what happens to them could be a lynching because they couldn't be real victims. >> botching these events in chicago and across the nation over the past few years that we have new technology to allow people to see it but they are particularly new events. that we are witnessing a moment in which the real assault on police legitimacy. i want to be clear about what i'm saying. it's not the evidence making the assault. the actions have been going on
for a long time. but i look at chicago and when you have cops literally executing somebody in coming together to create a story and you see it repeated over and over again. they're supposed to have a certain amount of respect. in many ways he weren't any different than any other violent course in the nation. i think you kind of see that in attica. i mean, the media is supporting members back. the authorities told us this. >> some of the media so the prisoners are killed, nobody asks for cooperation. nobody questions the idea that a black prisoner would've a white card. it's just of course and therefore it ends up on the front page. but the issue of police
accountability i think runs throughout. for me personally one of the most important research scientist to figure out why it was that she had this event that quickly does become clear to the nation that the police have in fact killed not only the prisoners that hostages. why is it the 62 prisoners were indicted for crimes that attica and not one member of law enforcement. the story about state and federal government go to protect the police and how the police themselves from the very beginning are removing photographs and indeed in one of the most damning pieces of evidence in the book, in the days after this retaking the governor is essentially persuaded that he has to have an investigation. this is kind of a disaster and
there's bodies everywhere. it resembles a civil war painting inside of attica. so he does appoint someone. what no one knows what days after this retaking and three more times in secret meetings at rockefellers will house, the new york state police that they are. the architects of the retaking who are then allowed to investigate the head of the attica investigation is that this meeting and the whole cast of characters and over the meetings they essentially get their stories straight. you just quickly understand that there are so many layers to protection and the last thing i'll say about that if it works -- there is a benign neglect part of this abuse because these brothers that
attica and the hostages are not silent. they are telling their story. they are saying we are being beaten in here. we are being abused. somebody help us. there are heroes and heroines in this book reduce step up and try to help put the attic of in particular. but at every level from the lowest level workman's comp and haitian officials to state senators to the governor to the presidency of the united states, to the justice department who decide not to intervene, to the supreme court of the united states, the only one who seems to want to intervene as thurgood marshall enough analysis note thank you. at every level, everyone just turns away. >> these questions about a democracy. you literally have a presidential level of doubt.
a conspiracy to cover up a lynching. i don't think it's too far to say that. you actually have evidence to demonstrate that is actually what happened. we don't live. what does that say? so many of our democratic institutions. it was so quick to not only allow this to happen very quickly turn the page. and asking how much truth can folks actually handle? how much actual reality cannot democrat institutions take? >> what you're really getting at is the question of who is a legitimate big and who really can have that intel is victimhood and put on them. one of our colleagues kahlil mohammed writes about blackness
in his brilliant book and makes a lot of profound points. one of them is during prohibition as they begin to fill as more and more white folks and began to see prisoners people were appalled and wanted to go back a lot of these policies and change a lot of these laws. fundamentally we are really talking about what is it about but just prisoners, but not legitimate, not human in the eyes of the state and why would it be when it comes to prosecution their lives are not valuable. i must say i'm not point if you'll allow me one of the controversies in this book is aries and historian and there is a chapter in the state investigation of attica.
with the state believed in law enforcement have committed crimes of attica. they knew when they knew it and with a sour believed. i've taken some degree. they focus a lot of attention on that. by which he named these guys after 40 years. what i find so remarkable is that nobody has ever went past me like a guy named names of the prisoners that attica who also were accused of things. 62 of them they did not do. i named their names because again the state was accusing them of such and such a no one ever went said what about their families? so what is this question of who has the right to be in this sense. >> it is absolutely -- when you read what actually happened and
folks feel like -- again, you don't say anybody did anything. u.s. and historian can effectively be involved in the cover-up. that's really hard to deal with. one of the significant things about this book is very interesting to me. if you like one could have written a book recounting what happened and devoted apple augusta might have been. that would be one way to write the book. it is maybe about two fifths of the book is set in the context of not having to attica and everything that happened after. >> the book would've been a lot shorter had i not made that decision.
what is so interesting to me about attica as we do have no more accounts of those days. everyone began to speak up. but we didn't know was what happened for the next 40 years that the survivors still to this day have not had an apology for the state of new york let alone any admission of responsibility that everybody i talked to for this book and i believe pretty much everybody at some point in our discussion had a breakdown. i mean, as an historian 11 is not really equipped to deal with that. i wrote a piece when i was trying to work this out. we are not equipped to deal with that kind of trauma in the present and that told me something about the importance of the after story as much as the part about what brought people together because in fact
the after story i think is what helps us to explain my once again today you and i are sitting here not in the nation in the globe but that chicago is erupting because it's one of the reasons we are here regarded as because of the cover-up and who is allowed to be of the victim. >> this is a compellingly written book. i love historians, but people don't often say that. i have two questions. i hope i'm not being condescending here. where did you learn to write like this? let's get right to it. who taught you? >> first of all, i want to say any book of this length and size can be accomplished with that
amazing how print editors in helping me figure out who are the key people to focus on and the key stories and that is not me. but frankly as historians in the top about this, we are trained to do research, but we are not necessarily trained in how to convey that. i felt very inadequate in now. i would start to read novels. it just felt like a raft of language. have you described of retaking without constantly using words like terrible or horrific. >> welcome to my world. >> we are not capturing it. the tremendous insight and help from folks who read it and helped me with that. the thank you. interestingly when this book was first -- when i thought it would
do it, i didn't even consider necessarily doing it as a trade press. even the profession we don't often take about that. originally my first book was at cornell university press and is an upstate new york story at night it seemed a little logical. the reality was that one of my grandparents to read it. i wanted someone to read it -- i wanted everyone to read it because of the story and it and because i wanted the story is finally in one place somewhere. >> what about the narrative as opposed to a method that compares different viewpoints and different ways people look at it. >> because they wanted people to read it. if we would've begun with this boat argues -- book argues. with enormous respect to my profession, some stories tell
themselves. frankly, survivors told this tory. i wish her the story with people and because it's one that stuck with me. i visited the widow of one of the slain guards that we are sitting in her house and her family was so traumatized that the event because many of these families if they didn't say this, the guards not only are killed as well but also slender slender -- swindled by the state of new york. again, the ripples of trauma and she was so overwhelmed by how could this have happened? how could they have come in and killed their own debt she wrote to william comes later, who was one of the attica observers and was very clear that his allegiances were with the
prisoners and in fact i did volunteer to be a lawyer for prisoners in the yard during negotiation. she wrote to him and she went in her background and brought up the ladder wrote to her. it is one of these moments where it operates that these words are telling themselves. two people from about as difficult as you can imagine how the correspondent can come to the same conclusion that the state was willing to take power at any cost rather than black in her words, the little people check without allowing anyone to challenge them. but one more was a prisoner. i saw him today at an earlier event is an earlier part of the book where he's describing the first night in the yard. he said he sees this guy who was a friend of his in the yard kind of walking around just smiling.
he asks them, how are you feeling? he says in wonderment, i haven't seen the stars in 22 years. that is why it's a narrative because those stories told themselves. >> and it does speak to the power of white supremacy. >> yeah. there's no question. the theme comes up so often, it even then during the retaking and the graphics state troopers were writing on the wall, in the future i'll that comes in the weeks and months -- >> it is not subtly written. the racism is not hard to distinguish. >> forcing people to their knees that of already then shot and get the way power salute. >> what are the lessons that we did not learn?
>> you know, so many. i want to be clear that we didn't learn them -- it was very deliberate and we didn't find them. when the state of new york stands outside of the prison and tells the world that the prisoners have killed the hostages. one cannot express what an important moment he says because leading up to that in this country, we were actually considering more community corrections. we were actually thinking about ways in which to humanize and lawsuits to challenge brutality in prisons. on the eve of attica, i've looked at a lot of the polling of people are sympathetic to the idea that guards needed more training in general ordinary citizens sympathetic to the idea prisoners were deserving of human rights. in that moment, this moment i
think was really offended because over 90 prisoners are animals, they should get the death penalty. meanwhile it was law enforcement that had committed these deaths are carried out these deaths, they get out was where the nation sentiment went. we didn't learn what had really happened at attica, but not because reasons people could not have figured it out. we didn't learn it because the narrative was immediately taken over. every time the hostages tried to speak out, they were shut down. they tried to sue the state of new york for worker's compensation. they couldn't because the state had come to their houses and said you know, mrs. so-and-so, this will tide you over. never told them if they cash the $42 checks they wouldn't be able to see the state of new york.
that is their story. these abuses and atrocities clear up until the civil case the state maintained that this was something of a fraternity hazing. it hasn't happened. it didn't happen. one of the most chilling things to read is the closing arguments in the defense of the final civil cases because it's an utter denial of these people suffered anything. the fact we didn't learn that because the people who experience were not able to speak on the cost of not finding the once again i feel it prisons have become bigger, larger, more punitive. folksy match by time. much of my time in solitary. the event this morning, and they were in the yard that come from attica but it was really one of the most was haunting experiences listening to that
because it was so clear the repression that are attica lasted a decade. but the legacy in the book is not just repression because if we've been watching the news, in the last week 400 prisoners in florida, 400 in michigan, people have been erupting again. we don't actually know the full extent of it frankly because we can't get inside of these public institutions to know what is going on. and every one of those cases they shouted out at account because part of his legacy again is that fight for justice and the desire to always be heard as a human bead. >> one of the things you do pretty remarkably distraught human beings. one of the oddly -- oswald who sees himself as a good guy. to me thanks to liberal
reformers that can't quite go far enough or can't get the powers to be to go far enough. someone approaching them as a character, how did she feel? >> i felt like he was deeply a tragic figure. whereas rockefeller come his his reputation was as a liberal republican. he was also a lawyer. >> kind of an operator. >> absolutely. but he also feels like this is a communist conspiracy and again he's a lawyer, but oswalt is this guy from wisconsin. he works on the parole system. he's a reformer and believes these guys need to be listened to us. if you want won't dress there would've been police negotiations. he's the one that allows the
observers saying, but is also frazzled inheriting a son of these people between these poles of people who say no it's not enough just to give me one more shower. the guys in the yard. in this stage who he had literally pushing back at and who are calling for him to be resigned and who are basically law-enforcement setting and death threats. so he's one of these guys who really do trying to fix it, trying to do the right thing but being between these poles were it would've been very difficult. >> i keep coming back to this question. let me ask this first. greedy in this book reader i find myself for my sympathies are pretty clear.
i found myself frustrated. it's a very interesting night of tribute. you know it's going to happen in your life come on. you know what i mean, you say that you find yourself in moment like that where you're actually frustrated people even though you know what's going to happen? >> way. one of the stories he is talking about his many of the guys in the yard unnoticed at the observers is these people who they have lifted up his real heroes who will speak to them and they wanted someone from the blood panther party. they originally wanted huey newton, but today golf was bobby seale. it is not a very flattering portrait of bobby seale because he essentially comes in to the yard and they've been waiting for him and waiting for him and waiting for him and he doesn't want to endorse them.
he doesn't want to endorse the state. so he turned on his heels and leaves. it is just one of these moment rights -- and a few aleutians, but it also doubtless why i hope people feel is the unexpected, the one minute you think you know what side you're on for lack of a better term and get a little bit more complicated. >> one of the things that got me was this fear of skill is like literally your having the troopers and folks are driving around to funeral homes have been ordaining, to make sure this constant intimidation. i hate to come back to this, but what are we supposed to think? these are the people who are supposed to protect us, acting like thugs. this is what was happening.
what are we left with? >> certainly we are left today as we have these discussions about prosecutors had grand jury said police that he had turbo system is clearly flawed and insufficient. attitash is nothing else, it shows that. it is a closed society. in that sense, law enforcement and the grand jury system and the prospector of relationship is a very closed world and yet the stakes are far too high to have a world that close with that much responsibility. i don't think any of that is unfixable but it is remarkable about how we are all still here in the prosecutorial discretion of the grand jury can hear heinous testimony and still not a day. it really does raise a lot of questions about today.
>> one of the disturbing things that closed society is very much present -- >> right, absolutely. >> do i have anymore questions? they are getting screened here. what surprised you most during, after writing the book at what age you expect to uncover? >> what i was most surprised initially was that as an historian i assumed when i decided i wanted to write a book on attica but i would go to the archives and ask and i would write the story. so that would shock number one. but probably shock number two was after a number of years of poking around, i did have the
tremendous fortune to come across a whole stash of records that changed everything because they really do show the inside of the attica investigation and probably what is most surprising today and i am deeply grateful is the prisoner writes resonates again. i wonder if three years ago would've resonated as it is now in a very grateful for that because vista -- this stuff goes on all the time of the walls are so high that reserve close so far believe that we don't see it. >> you mentioned in your book you tell us about women in the story. >> yeah, so even though this is a facility that is all meant and the observers are men, they recently know so many of these
stories than the attica lawyers come in many who were devoted to making sure these stories were told in the attica prisoners were defended. elizabeth james, elizabeth fink, tremendous advocates for justice. on the hostage said today, women like the daughter of the slain guard and this became her life to make sure the story is told and that her activism has pushed and pushed the envelope to get the attorney general's office today to start thinking about releasing records. there is a lot of women in here who they are with attica for 40 years and they make it happen. >> during your research, who did not want to talk to you? and/or can you talk about the role of fear played in why that
is still so pervasive today. >> so i feel like the only people who didn't want to talk to me were from rockefellers administration. they certainly tried, but i was able to talk to troopers. i was able to talk to pretty much someone from every one of the groups of people who were talked about are told in this boat except for people close to mr. rockefeller. i too regret that because i do have a lot of questions. the paper trail was there. i do feel confident that i was able to count a lot of what they teach fink or did there. i wasn't able to talk to them. the troopers i must say committed so many of the horrors at attica, but many troopers were so traumatized by attica that they come to court 30 years later and that is how we know
the identifying badges were removed. i had a guy who was in monroe county sheriff, who after the 40th anniversary called me. keith for 40 years or whatever since then, 30 years, holding onto these stories of what he witnessed that day. he just broke down. so this is such an horrific event that the law enforcement enforcement -- under plenty who denied the dog hair and here, too. there were just these pockets of heroes and heroines in the story. >> tissue contact -- [inaudible] >> i get that a lot. no, i did not. everyone needs to understand that this was not an oral history. you'll notice in my foot as it doesn't say that i interview people. it's really quiet conversations people in many those people came
into my life through the journey of doing the boat. when i discovered who these people were, again the state had committed a crime at attica and was very worried about revealing that i have the documents, that i had seen what i had because there had been such a concerted effort to not release the attica files. at that point i hunkered down and just not raise the aligned that i had seen the document more than anything else. it tended to those documents were names. i don't know frankly whether anyone has tried to find them. the >> people might be prosecuted for the atrocities occurring. >> certainly legally and i'm not a lawyer but i think it could be -- someone can correct me if i'm wrong. because there's a statute of limitations on murder,
presumably there could still be prosecutions. but one cannot underestimate the damage that was done to the chain of command. the chain of evidence is what i am trying to say. it is not impossible that we take the will and we don't even have the will today to see through investigations in chicago, for example. but it's also cover ups are effective that it would be very difficult. but i think that always will remain a question. i think it goes to the heart of why the documents or so protect dead and the heart of why the police every time there has been a talk been a top of opening these records, they have stepped up and been very active to not want these records open and one can only imagine this. >> forget the individual atrocities, but the state itself might be held and there might be some compensation and reparations somewhere. [laughter] i'm just saying.
>> but it should just give me say that because at the end of the day the chapter on the retaking which is the hardest to get through initially when you are in that chat here, it is the theory that law enforcement, the fury about brutality. but i don't know what y'all think, but by the end of the book it seems so clear to me the real responsibility is again with the state. spin that is clear to me when i was reading the chapter. the >> one of the troopers who get troopers who gets sent in, his brother is a hostage in his been out there for four days. so who is responsible for that? who is responsible for letting this happen? at the end of the day that is the state. >> you think of the idea who should be closed? >> attica should absolutely be closed.
yes. there's many new yorkers who share that view, who are working very hard to close it and indeed internally officials who work at attica and noted instantly feel it should be closed. it is a trauma site. by the way, if you opt-in there today, it looks just as it did in 1932. it is not changed. but now it's up on the cap box of africa, you can still see the chipset must amend for the bullets were flying. this is a trauma site into the state, goes on in it. >> how difficult was this for you? >> extremely because the state denied my request. the only way i got into the attic of as a very convoluted way. i ultimately met their surviving
hostages. one of the slain hostage's son is still a corrections officer at attica and he wanted me to see it. it is through him is through and that is able to get in and see the cap up. he showed me this is where my father was killed. this is where the bullets were. had it not again been for that and frankly speaking of privilege had i not looks like i vote that would've never gotten in there to see that appeared >> are you aware of the sunni applications passed yesterday, prior felons to apply? >> i saw that. this really speaks to the other legacy of attica that is not repression which is the legacy of again reaching into the humanity of the story and understanding that part of this process has got to be healing and part of this process cannot be dashed on this process can be abused.
paragraph has to be learning, healing, education, recognizing people in prison are people. >> i love this question. you're fine. it's relevant even today. what happened to investigative reporting? >> is going to say why don't you answer that. >> i think more journalists covered even journalists covering the presidential campaign can be more aware to which the american newspapers have been a part of the atrocity of african-americans in this country. [applause] people who are going into this profession being objective and don't understand the traditions in which they are working.
i was not shocked at all to see the press only 10 years ago with iraq. it happens all the time. by "the new york times" are: when one country does send aid them in the united states does that colin and enhanced interrogation. it's very sad to say, but true. >> agree. i think attica shows a little bit of the behind-the-scenes of this. there are stories from the press is told the prisoners have killed the hostages. i follow up on that a little bit in the book because the question is was there any fallout from this what it's very clear this isn't what happened. it was a really interesting mixed response. some of the reporters are furious and are a rockefeller store banging on it i was saying goodbye because part of it is their own guilt.
>> one of the interesting stories i heard last week and i wish i would've known this from the book. one of the most important reporters on the scene with john johns said that if anyone has seen the ice on the prize, he's a reporter outside and he just breaks down and says they are killing people in there. anyway, i was never able to find him and kind of would've wanted to talk to him. he contacted me and told me this fascinating story that when this happened and the lies were told, everybody rushed to print and he refused and he worked for abc and he lost his job. not only that, but the guys who did then try to do the right thing msi do write about for one of the newspapers in new york. there aren't editors stepped in and said no i have the internal nodes. this is far too sympathetic to the prisoners. let's find out and you'll see
this. i want to know what for their crimes that got them there in the first place. >> how can this book and pat prison reform, is that what you would use? >> i don't, but i'm grateful at the very least this book i wouldn't even presume that it would. i would be thrilled if it would move the needle even so far that people read this and get a very different idea of who is it that is behind bars. the thing about the stories you say at attica today and everybody pictures the worst of the worst. even the word connotes such a total maximum security facility. paddock, upstate new york. the first people you meet in this poker night 2-year-old parole violators who are there driving without a license, cutting someone's convertible
top. lg barkley was 21. i hope it destabilizes this idea. many of these guys frankly there were some bad dudes in there. there is a lot of drug addiction. a lot of property crime because people were stealing because they should've had a drug addiction. that is no different than today. if it destabilizes this idea of humanity and who's behind bars, i'm grateful for that. >> i just want you guys to recognize. i want to make sure i double down on that idea. i love his stories. i really do. even though i rip on you guys for how you write and everything. >> you have award winners in here comes that they are safe. >> only because i've read so much of what you do with people like me who are lucky enough to
write for magazines that we get all this attention, but the fact of the matter is we stand on some mighty, mighty shoulders and one of the most beautiful things about this book is to see you standing in the archives, doing the work he did that get in the credit that i think this book really deserves. i literally went on how my own work, mass incarceration we talk quite a bit. you've been great councils to me and it's been an honor and had to be here and be in conversation with you. [applause] >> on behalf of roosevelt, thanks. any historians say no.
you don't have to do a disclaimer. but seriously, heather, if these kurds have been drawn tight for 45 years, he is not only part of them, you've torn them down and let the sunshine in. tonight, with thank you, heather ann tom said and trained to coates. we invite you to join us for a conversation. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]